The Cross in the Midst of Creation

How do activism and scholarship contribute to our understanding of Scripture in the world today?

October 20, 2022, 7:30pmEDT on Zoom

CLBSJ and the Alternative Seminary warmly invite you to join us for a dialogue emerging from Rev. Sharon Delgado’s new book, The Cross in the Midst of Creation: Following Jesus, Engaging the Powers, Transforming the World. Joining Delgado in conversation will be Daryl Grigsby, author, community organizer and lay theologian. Both Delgado’s and Grigsby’s theological reflections are rooted in their decades of work for economic equality, climate justice, racial healing, and peace. Today’s society is increasingly difficult to navigate, burdened as it is with violent political discourse, widening racial division and lies accepted as truth. This difficulty is compounded with increasingly virulent public manifestations of white Christian nationalism that convey exclusion and violence. Delgado and Grigsby will explore how their understanding of scriptures, spiritual practices, and lifetimes of struggle inform their mutual conviction that despite all the bad news, the message contained in Jesus’ life, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection — which Paul called “the word of the cross” in 1 Corinthians 1:18 — offers good news that is deeply relevant today.

Continue reading “The Cross in the Midst of Creation”

Challenging Power and Privilege: Is Good News for the poor Bad News for many of us in North America?

By Will O’Brien, coordinator of The Alternative Seminary

Our Western scholarship and church teaching have communicated to us the notion that the four Gospels convey “objective truth,” and we read them to discern their objective and universal meaning. But such an approach to Scripture, bred in the Western / European church, has functioned to uphold social power systems of domination. What is “objective” and what is “universal” have been adjudicated conveniently by church hierarchy and monarchs to serve the needs of Empire, muting the prophetic and liberating voices of scripture.

In recent decades, the Western church has had its safe objectivity subverted by the powerful and insistent voices from the global south, who have forced us to reckon with the social contexts of scripture – both in its historical origins and in our contemporary world. They have exposed the lie behind the phony neutrality of Western biblical scholarship and challenged our concepts of universal meaning by reading the gospels in contexts of real-life suffering, oppression, and unjust social systems.

Continue reading “Challenging Power and Privilege: Is Good News for the poor Bad News for many of us in North America?”

THE CROSS OF CHRIST:  A Justification for Redemptive Violence Or a Call to Gospel Nonviolence?

Another compelling online offer from the Alternative Seminary in Philly. See details below for tomorrow’s gathering.

The cross can heal and hurt; it can be empowering and liberating but also enslaving and oppressive … I believe that the cross placed alongside the lynching tree can help us to see Jesus in America in a new light, and thereby empower people who claim to follow him to take a stand against white supremacy and every kind of injustice.” ― James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree

We are witnessing how the Christian faith has been contorted to almost unrecognizable shape and put at the service of empire – even though the founder of the faith was executed by empire. The cross of Christ, perhaps the central image of Christian life and thought, has been frequently been used to promote the idea of “redemptive violence,” and has been directly or indirectly used to vindicate and even bless human violence.

Continue reading “THE CROSS OF CHRIST:  A Justification for Redemptive Violence Or a Call to Gospel Nonviolence?”

THE CROSS OF CHRIST: A JUSTIFICATION FOR REDEMPTIVE VIOLENCE OR A CALL TO GOSPEL NONVIOLENCE?

A timely Lenten offering from the Alternative Seminary in Philly. An online gathering on Saturday morning.

The cross can heal and hurt; it can be empowering and liberating but also enslaving and oppressive … I believe that the cross placed alongside the lynching tree can help us to see Jesus in America in a new light, and thereby empower people who claim to follow him to take a stand against white supremacy and every kind of injustice.” 
― 
James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree

 We are witnessing how the Christian faith has been contorted to almost unrecognizable shape and put at the service of empire – even though the founder of the faith was executed by empire. The cross of Christ, perhaps the central image of Christian life and thought, has been frequently been used to promote the idea of “redemptive violence,” and has been directly or indirectly used to vindicate and even bless human violence.

Continue reading “THE CROSS OF CHRIST: A JUSTIFICATION FOR REDEMPTIVE VIOLENCE OR A CALL TO GOSPEL NONVIOLENCE?”

Peace on Earth and the Politics of Christmas

An online offering from Will O’Brien of the Alternative Seminary in Philly. December 5 at 10:30amEST.

Much of the Christian church in the United States has been co-opted by an American gospel of prosperity, racism, violence, and militant nationalism. The celebration of Christmas is a victim of that co-optation: It is often wrapped in innocent, feel-good. Hallmark-card imagery. But in fact the biblical texts describing the coming of Jesus are making powerful assertions about the politics of the Bible that speak very much to our contemporary global crises. This online gathering will explore the “nativity narratives” in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke to see how they express core biblical themes of justice and liberation. We will try to “un-domesticate” these tales of liberation and reflect on how they are truly challenging us in terms of our allegiance and our discipleship. A perfect event for Advent.

Continue reading “Peace on Earth and the Politics of Christmas”

The Politics of Christmas in the Age of Trump

Will-OBrien-150x150.jpgBy Will O’Brien

For several years, the Alternative Seminary in Philadelphia has offered an annual Advent program called “Peace on Earth and The Politics of Christmas” Alternative Seminary coordinator and frequent contributor to the Radical Discipleship blog Will O’Brien leads the discussion on how we reclaim the domesticated biblical narrative of Jesus’ birth with their powerful message of challenge to worldly powers.  Folks in the Philadelphia area are encouraged to join this year’s program on Saturday, December 7. You can also spread the word via the Facebook page.

Can we liberate Christmas from its cultural captivity and rediscover the truly prophetic story that speaks to the crises of our world today? Continue reading “The Politics of Christmas in the Age of Trump”

Reading the Bible as a Trans-Affirming Ally

indexBy Mx Chris Paige

Reading the Bible while transgender involves sorting through many distortions and biased assumptions that have been passed along, both through tradion and translation. Often critics are so confident in their bias that they aren’t even looking at the text. My book, OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation, has only been out for a few months, so I am only beginning to encounter trolls, but I have already seen “conversations” devolve into “because I said so” non-arguments. Looking past the strident (and often ignorant) opposition is the first barrier to reading the Bible as a transgender-affirming ally. Continue reading “Reading the Bible as a Trans-Affirming Ally”

Transgender Liberation Invitation

indexThe Alternative Seminary, Transfaith,
and Germantown Mennonite Church
 Invite You to

 Transgender Liberation:
Intersectional Identities, Alternate Genders, and the Biblical Testimony of Eunuchs

 Saturday, November 2
10:00 am – 12:00 noon

 Germantown Mennonite Church
21 W. Washington Lane, Philadelphia

Mx Chris Paige (formerly publisher of The Other Side magazine) will present from their new book, OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation. Drawing on 25 years of transgender-affirming scholarship, Chris will invite us to expand our understanding of the 50 explicit uses of the word “eunuch” in the Christian Bible (many of which are obscured in translation), as well as other likely or perhaps eunuchs such as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In doing so, we will challenge one another to live more deeply into resistance from colonized gender ideology, white supremacy, and Christian empire. Continue reading “Transgender Liberation Invitation”

The Cross: A Call to Gospel Nonviolence

crucifixion_edilberto-meridaEast Coast Friends!! An announcement from The Alternative Seminary in Philly!

THE CROSS OF CHRIST: A JUSTIFICATION FOR REDEMPTIVE VIOLENCE OR A
CALL TO GOSPEL NONVIOLENCE?

The cross can heal and hurt; it can be empowering and liberating but also enslaving and oppressive … I believe that the cross placed alongside the lynching tree can help us to see Jesus in America in a new light, and thereby empower people who claim to follow him to take a stand against white supremacy and every kind of injustice.” ― James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree

Continue reading “The Cross: A Call to Gospel Nonviolence”

The Politics of Christmas

From our comrades at the Alternative Seminary in Philly…just in time for Advent:Adbusters

In an age of Trumpism, can we liberate Christmas from its cultural captivity and rediscover the truly prophetic story that speaks to the crises of our world today?

Peace on Earth and the Politics of Christmas

Saturday morning, December 8
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Project HOME, 1515 Fairmount Avenue

Much of the Christian church in the United States has been co-opted by an American gospel of prosperity, racism, violence, and militant nationalism. The celebration of Christmas is a victim of that co-optation: It is often wrapped in innocent, feel-good, Hallmark-card imagery. But in fact the biblical texts describing the coming of Jesus are making powerful assertions about the politics of the Bible that speak very much to our contemporary global crises. We will reflect on the “nativity narratives” in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke to see how they express core biblical themes of justice and liberation. We will try to “un-domesticate” these tales of liberation and reflect on how they are truly challenging us in terms of our allegiance and our discipleship. A perfect event for Advent. A light breakfast will be served. A $5 donation is requested to cover costs.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Will O’Brien at (215) 842-1790 or wobrien@alternativeseminary.net by December 5.

The Alternative Seminary is a program of biblical and theological study and reflection designed to foster an authentic biblical witness in the modern world. For more information, see http://www.alternativeseminary.net.